January 21, 2019 / 5:41 PM / 5 months ago

Count of Paris, pretender to French throne, dies aged 85

FILE PHOTO: Paris Count Henri d'Orleans (L) and his wife Micaela Cousino Quinones de Leon attend a ceremony to pay tribute to the dead of World War One in a state funeral for Lazare Ponticelli, aged 110, France's last surviving WWI veteran at the Invalides in Paris on March 17, 2008. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Henri d’Orleans, Count of Paris and pretender to the defunct French throne, died on Monday - exactly 226 years after his distant cousin Louis XVI was guillotined in Paris.

His death, aged 85, was announced on Facebook by his son Jean.

Henri was said to harbor royal ambitions, but the movement to restore France’s monarchy has progressively dwindled since the years leading up to World War Two, when it was viewed in some quarters as a credible threat to Republicanism.

Henri, the Orleanist pretender, vied for the claim with the Bourbons, based in Spain and headed by the 44-year-old Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou.

France overthrew its monarchy in the revolution of 1789, briefly restoring it after the fall of Napoleon. The last French king, Louis Philippe, was toppled in 1848.

In an opinion piece published in Le Figaro last October, Jean d’Orleans criticized the French constitution, calling for “changes” to the role of head of state but falling short of urging the abolition of the republic.

“The role of arbitrator, which is held by the head of state in our thousand-year old tradition, is no longer carried out effectively. It is not surprising, therefore, that the French, who value political symbols, vote to reject rather than to approve in each presidential election,” he wrote.

Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by John Stonestreet

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